The Single Best Thing to Buy at Costco This Month

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Trong Nguyen

Back at the end of March, I bought a 400-count pack of coffee filters for less than $5 at Costco. My husband (semi-nicely) mocked me at the time, saying it would take us forever to go through the whole stack. At most, we make two pots of coffee a day (one hot and one to refill our iced coffee pitcher). So even then, it would take us 200 days to use up every single filter. We’d be well into October (at the earliest!) before I’d need to buy coffee filters again.

But then, in early April, as the coronavirus continued to spread, the CDC changed its official guidelines and went on the record to recommend that Americans wear cloth face masks when out in public and whenever social distancing is not possible. The CDC released instructions on how to make face masks (for the sewing- and non-sewing folks among us) and many health experts suggested using coffee filters or newspaper as filters in the masks.

Note: The CDC also suggested coffee filters at one time. There’s no longer any mention of them on their site, and my media request went unanswered. (I get it, they have a lot going on right now!) That said, many health experts continue to suggest adding coffee filters to our masks.

“It’s still a best practice to have multiple materials in a mask,” says Dr. Donald Schaffner, a food science professor at Rutgers whose research specialties include quantitative microbial risk assessment, predictive food microbiology, hand-washing, and cross-contamination. The logic is simple: The more types of material and layers, the more likely the mask is to catch particles expelled by a cough or sneeze, which will, in turn, help reduce the spread of the virus by people who may be infected but are not showing symptoms.

All of the store-bought masks I’ve managed to collect since the spring have extra pockets. Most of them came with a washable, reusable filter but not all of them did, so I like that I have coffee filters on hand to trim down and slide inside as needed. I don’t reuse the coffee filters, however, which is why the bulk package is coming in handy.

Honestly, between all the bonus cold brew we’ve been making (it’s been SO HOT and we don’t have air conditioning!) and the mask filters, I’m starting to think we should have bought a second pack.

What’s the best thing you’ve bought in bulk lately?